Off-Grid Networks

Vanu rural technical innovation focuses on low power consumption and small size to reduce both OPEX as well as site related CAPEX costs enabling mobile carriers to profit in off-grid markets.

The next billion cellular connections will come from rural areas in developing markets.  However, building the cellular infrastructure in these regions presents radically different challenges from building networks in urban areas:

  • The power grid in these areas is unreliable, if it exists at all.
  • There is no wired telecom infrastructure to run the network backbone of the cellular network.
  • The large distance over poor roads makes site maintenance time consuming and expensive.
  • There is little local skilled labor to support the site maintenance.

Off-grid markets is a unique category that requires special solutions to profitably and sustainably address this opportunity for mobile network operators.  Some of the key requirements for off grid market networks are listed below.

  • Solution must maximize feasible revenue.
  • The capital cost of the network equipment must be recoverable despite low revenue per user.
  • The operating cost of the network equipment must be minimal.
  • The network must support optimizations between subsystems designed to achieve cost and operational objectives.
  • Maintenance must be easy to save costs and to ensure it’s doable by local populations.
  • The network must be flexible with respect to backhaul mediums.
  • The network must minimize backhaul usage.
  • New network elements must connect to pre-existing network elements, and other networks, via industry standard interfaces
  • The network and devices must comply with pre-existing regulatory frameworks

Vanu’s pioneering software radio equipment lowers capital and operating expense to make the off-grid market addressable.  It does so by following three key objectives.

  • Minimize overall site power consumption. The Vanu radio equipment has the lowest power consumption in its class.
  • Minimize backhaul BW. The Vanu software has a number of optimization algorithms that minimize the backhaul BW requirement.
  • Reduce maintenance cost. The Vanu radio and software can be remotely diagnosed and repaired eliminating the need to send a technician to remote places. The product is easy to deploy, once the remote site is powered on, it dials home to receive its configuration information.

Vanu’s innovations solve these problems and provide the equipment, tools, and services that enable MNOs to profit by providing service in off-grid markets. Vanu has addressed all of these challenges with the CompactRAN™ and continues to address it with Vanu’s Community Connect.  The benefits of the Vanu solution are:

  • Low power consumption while transmitting two GSM carriers, enabling it to run off of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind for extended periods of time.
  • Solar powered to provide coverage where there is no power grid.
  • Utilizes a latency and jitter tolerant packet-based IP backhaul, enabling the infrastructure to use a wide variety of media for backhaul including microwave, wireless broadband, cable modem, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), and satellite connections.
  • Software radio architecture allows for standards upgrades and bug fixes to be downloaded remotely. Vanu has performed over the air satellite upgrades from voice to data for a customer in the remote areas of Nepal.
  • Maintenance is simplified through remote monitoring and software upgrades. Hardware fixes are simple swap-outs, that do not require specific technical training.

Our solution is a compact carrier grade outdoor base station, weighing only 9.6kg. The small form factor allows for simplified mounting on poles and alternative structures, which eliminates the need to place equipment on the ground, and greatly simplifies tower construction requirements.

We also provide understanding and help in addressing the rural markets opportunity with our:

  • Vanu Mapping tool
  • Vanu Services
  • Vanu Turnkey sites
    • Solar
    • Batteries
    • Management and maintenance

We, at Vanu, understand the challenges of off-grid markets because we have encountered them first-hand. This has allowed us to develop strategies to address these challenges and to help our customers succeed as a result.